Questions about Courts Martial

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What is a courts martial? What types of crimes are tried in a courts martial? Does a courts martial trial resemble a civilian trial? Why is it important to hire an experienced courts martial attorney for my case? I have been approached by an investigative agency to provide information. What should I do?   Q.) What is a courts martial? A.) A courts martial is a military court that can determine punishments for members of the military who are found guilty of a crime. A courts martial can also dismiss charges against a member of the military based on the evidence and the case presented to the court. All militaries maintain a courts martial system to try cases. Courts martial are also used to try enemy prisoners of war for war crimes. [ Return to Top ] Q.) What types of crimes are tried in a courts martial? A.) Courts martial have the authority to try any type of crime, many of which resemble civilian crimes such as rape, murder, fraud, and perjury. Other crimes are purely military crimes and include cowardice, desertion, and insubordination. Punishments range from fines and imprisonment to execution, just like in civilian court. [ Return to Top ] Q.) Does a courts martial trial resemble a civilian trial? A.) Yes. As in all United States criminal court, courts martial are adversarial proceedings, and military lawyers representing the government and appointed military lawyers representing the accused present and argue facts and theories before a military judge. The defendant can also hire a civilian attorney at his own expense. The lawyers in the case must follow military rules of procedure and evidence as allowed by the judge. In non-capital cases, the defendant may request to be tried by the judge alone or by a jury. A courts martial jury is called a "panel of members." [ Return to Top ] Q.) Why is it important to hire an experienced courts martial attorney for my case? A.) Sometimes good people find themselves in bad situations. If you are in the military and find yourself in a bad situation, it can ruin your military career and your life. As a convicted felon, one loses important rights of citizenship. You really cannot afford to lose the fight against those charging you. We have attorneys with decades of military experience; one of our attorneys, W. Marc Hardesty is a retired JAG (Judge Advocate General) and has handled numerous cases including drug possessionrapeassaultembezzlement, and even murder. [ Return to Top ] Q.) I have been approached by an investigative agency to provide information. What should I do? A.) You should not speak to an investigative agency (CIDNCIS, or Base Security) or even your commanding officer about potentially criminal conduct. Prior to giving any statements whatsoever, you should contact military trial lawyer Mr. Hardesty so he can advise you of what to do. Saying something to an investigative agency or a commanding officer, or even a fellow officer, can do irreparable damage to your career and your life. To learn more about the complicated courts martial system in our country, please contact the Jacksonville, Florida legal team of Hardesty Tyde Green & Ashton, P.A. today. [ Return to Top ] Schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with a Jacksonville military attorney here!